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Ironbark drilling fails to impress

The BP-led Ironbark 1 joint venture has been left disappointed by news that drilling of the prospect offshore Western Australia has come up empty.

BP’s joint venture partners Cue Energy, Beach Energy and New Zealand Oil & Gas all confirmed last week that drilling encountered “no significant hydrocarbon shows” in the target sandstones.

Beach reported that the exploration well will now “be plugged and abandoned, in line with pre-drill planning.”

The well was drilled to a total depth of 5618 metres, intersecting the primary target of the Mungaroo Formation at 5275 metres.

New Zealand Oil & Gas chief executive Andrew Jefferies said it would take some time once drilling was complete, data retrieved and results analysed to understand the implications for the play.

“Bugger…. a very disappointing result for us all. Ironbark was a world-scale prospect in a highly prospective address, and it needed drilling. We got an answer, but it was not the one we wanted,” Jefferies said.

“While the operations are not over yet, I’d like to acknowledge the operator BP for their safe and professional operations throughout the drilling of the well, as well as our JV partners and our shareholders for their continuing support.”

The Ironbark 1 exploration well is in exploration permit WA-359-P. BP is the operator of the permit with 42.5 per cent, with Cue (21.5 per cent), Beach (21 per cent) and New Zealand Oil & Gas (15 per cent) holding the remaining ownership.